Monday, February 13, 2012

Dark Days Challenge 2012

The Dark Days Challenge for the Atlantic Provinces are moving along nicely, as is the sun which is coming up earlier and setting later. It's not so dark, really.

I am assuming that those of you trying to get more local in your buying habits have eagerly embraced the notion that most of your dairy products are local if you buy from Farmers or Scotsburn Dairies .

I am assuming you have switched from orange juice and other citrus juices (coming from China mostly) to apple cider and

Non sequitor alert - This is the famous Oxford Blueberry. Whenever we have visitors from away who want to see Nova Scotia, we try to fit in a photo opportunity here. I couldn't resist.

blueberry juice.

You've switched to local honey which is pesticide free all over the province. These folks sell at the market but their label is available at the main stores also.

And maple syrup (same) because that is soooo easy to do, just change labels in your normal shopping aisles.

Three easy steps accomplished.

On to easy step number four. Fish.

I don't know if you've noticed, but we are surrounded by an ocean and there are many, many suppliers of local fish. Fish can get a bit complicated because there are issues around the harvesting and preservation but let's assume for a minute that those don't exist.

Let's see, salmon, haddock, halibut, scallops in season, clams and mussels in season, talapia (very yummy and a good chicken substitute in texture and flavour) chowder mix, and a few odd things. I'm talking out of my hat now but I don't think the shrimp are local.

(image of Sambro Fisheries which is a local supplier of fish)
This brings me to Mike's Fish. He sells at the market but.... he's open all week long, has little signs on where the fish come from, will tell you how they are harvested and has pretty good prices. Yes, there is metered parking but this is peanuts and during the week, there is lots of it. You might get lucky and find someone's meter that hasn't expired if you are really skint.

You're standing at the exit to Mike's Fish and think, a good steak would be nice too. Turn left and around the corner is Getaway Meats.

More beef than you ever wish to eat. I am not a beef eater. I hate fat but this is good beef. Grain fed, well cared for animals and well prepared. Let's call it a man's butcher shop. The guys are very manly. The cuts are very manly. They assume that their customers are huge fans of beef. They are. Yet, when squeamish me approached them about finer ground beef, they were very happy to sort that out for me. If you prefer a leaner cut, just ask. You might have to order a day or two in advance, but that means custom cuts at the same price. (for the adventurous, they are thinking of bringing in boar now and again)

Here's a gross little tidbit. At a local university, there was research going on how far from fresh a fish can be, still be processed and sold to the consumer. In other words, not only are you buying frozen fish that has been harvested in one ocean, sent to a processing ship in China, sent back to Canada in a freezer container, and waited on freezer shelves for you to buy it, it is as close to foul as humans can eat without getting sick.

You are back at the superstore, (in your imagination) and you think your local shopping opportunities are at an end. Uhuh. Bacon. Yup, if you go to most Sobey's and Atlantic Superstores and ask at the butcher counter, you can get local bacon. There are a couple of fellows providing it, so I can't say which provider is where but every time we ask, we get handed half a pound of the stuff. Unless they are fibbing to us, but that would be wrong.

Now just to round out the food groups a little, go buy some Atlantic potatoes, carrots, onions and apples. That's a nice dish of roasted goodies right there. Ask the guys who work in that section if you can't find something. They should all be available. You want the actual Atlantic produce, not the stuff that is packaged in Atlantic Canada. No Come-From-Away veggies for you!

And see, without too much change to your shopping excursions, you can now claim to be closer to 50% local. Pretty painless, huh?

(all images from Google images)

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